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Maui’s second large-scale solar project comes online

By Staff | Oct 18, 2018

The 10.85-acre Ku‘ia Solar Project in Lahaina came online on Oct. 4.

KAHULUI – In partnership with Kenyon Energy, Maui Electric Company announced that Maui’s second large-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar project came online on Oct. 4.

Maui Electric is buying power from the Ku’ia Solar project, which is independently owned and operated by Kenyon Energy, in Lahaina.

The 10.85-acre project, located on land owned by Kamehameha Schools near Lahainaluna High School, can offer up to 2.87 megawatts (MW) of solar power to Maui Electric’s grid at 11.06 cents per kilowatt-hour.

MECO does not mark up or take a profit from this purchased power, passing the savings directly to Maui customers.

“We’re pleased to be able to partner with the community, area landowners, renewable energy developers and local policy and government leaders in adding more clean energy to power Maui,” said Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui Electric. “Securing stable, more cost-effective renewable energy through new large-scale renewable resources benefits all of our customers over the life of these major projects.”

Financing for Kenyon Energy’s South Maui project was provided by Key Equipment Finance through its Energy Solutions team. Maui Electric is also purchasing power from another Kenyon Energy project, South Maui Renewable Resources, which came online in May.

Bay4 Energy, one of the nation’s largest independent renewable energy service organizations, has been selected to provide ongoing asset management and operating services for both projects, while M+W Energy Inc., recognized as a leading solar Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) firm, served as the EPC provider for both projects.

“We are very pleased to partner again with Maui Electric, Key Equipment Finance and M+W Energy to complete another groundbreaking solar energy project,” said Chairman and CEO Clay Biddinger of Kenyon Energy. “Creating tangible economic and environmental benefits for Maui’s citizens and local businesses is at the heart of Kenyon Energy’s core values. We will continue to develop and operate renewable energy projects like this throughout Hawaii, including the acquisition of renewable energy projects from other solar partners.”

Kamehameha Schools’ lands are home to projects that produce nearly 100 megawatts of renewable energy statewide.

“Ku’ia Solar provides opportunities for Kamehameha Schools to steward these lands in a way that reduces Hawaii’s dependence on fossil fuels while bringing ‘aina-based learning to haumana (students) in the region through collaboration and innovation while fulfilling our mission to improve the well-being of Native Hawaiians through education,” said Ka’eo Duarte, Kamehameha Schools’ vice president for community engagement and resources.

Currently, Maui County has a renewable energy portfolio of 34 percent, ahead of the state’s target of 30 percent renewable energy by 2020. On some days, a significant portion of the electricity used on Maui comes from large grid-scale and privately owned renewables such as wind, hydro, biofuels and nearly 12,000 rooftop solar systems. In June 2017, Maui Electric reached a peak of 77 percent of its power coming from renewable energy resources.

Kenyon Energy is a leading developer, owner and operator of solar energy projects in the United States. It develops cost-effective, turnkey and creative solar energy solutions for a diverse set of customers, including utilities, municipalities, schools and universities, federal and state government facilities, small and large industrial facilities, and Fortune 500 companies.

Sun Financial is a long-term owner and operator of solar power facilities, acquiring both new and existing facilities typically under Power Purchase Agreements.

The Ku’ia Solar project will be added to Sun Financial’s growing portfolio of operating projects.

Bay4 Energy will manage the ongoing operations and maintenance of the facility.